Filled with hope and gratitude Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009 -- 1:00 AM

Dear Friends,

As I write this, I am freshly arrived back from the annual assembly of our National Bishops Conference, filled with hope indeed. On my way to Baltimore for the meeting, I had a stopover in Washington, during which time I had a good opportunity to visit with our seminarian who is a Basselin Scholar at the Catholic University of America, and some of the fellow seminarian friends whom he has met. The experience was totally upbeat and filled me with hope, both for the present and for the future.

Additionally, at meetings of the bishops conference, Tuesday night is usually the “free evening” for dinner and recreation for the bishops, though in many instances, bishops are very generously giving themselves, on Tuesday evenings, to the work of the various committees or sub-committees of our conference.


Seminarians: a sign of hope


This year on Tuesday night, at several points, the lobby of our hotel was filled with seminarians from different dioceses who attend local seminaries, including Theological College in Washington, Mount Saint Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Md., and St. Mary’s in Baltimore. Many of the bishops had set aside Tuesday evening this year to spend with their seminarians.

Again, what a joy it was to meet so many of them and to see their zeal, their energy, their enthusiasm, and their hope, as they chase after holiness together in preparation for priestly ordination. We have much to rejoice about these days in our seminarians and in the wonderful relationship and bond that is developing between themselves and their bishops.

New translations of Missal: another sign of hope

A second sign of great hope which we experienced during our bishops meetings was the final approval of the new translations of the Roman Missal, translations which have sought to be closer to the Latin text, and translations which have stirred, among some, a certain controversy.

The translations, in seeking more to replicate the nuances and pattern of the Latin texts, certainly will sound different to our people, in light of the translations to which we have become well accustomed. The saying goes, “if the people are happy, then why make the change?”

All of the other English-speaking conferences of bishops in the world have already approved these new translations. Our national conference is the last one, in fact, to voice our approval. The vote of approval was nearly unanimous, indicating the bishops’ enthusiasm to move forward with this particular change. But why? No translation into another language is ever perfect, in the first place, and no particular “language” is more important than the language of our Sacred Worship.

Where human intelligence is involved, the mind always seeks to go forward. One of the measures of good science is that it leads to scientific progress and thus to the succession of one theory over another. Such is the nature of science. In a somewhat similar way, the language of divine worship should always be making progress. As Cardinal George said to us in his comments after our vote of approval, the progress that we seek to make in translations of the Roman Missal is that our language changes and is improved so as to make it evermore resemble the language of the worship of the angels and the saints in heaven.

That’s why the changes that we are going to make within a year or two are needed. It is simply a sign that we are alive as a worshiping community and that we really know what our goal is: to reflect evermore the reverence and joy of the angels and saints in heaven, as they are led by Christ Himself in the eternal worship of the Father in the communion of the Holy Spirit.

It may not be easy to become accustomed to the new translations in many cases, but we must remember that the changes after the Second Vatican Council were made after no changes had been made for virtually 500 years. God’s people who made those changes can certainly welcome this new change as a very important step forward on our journey toward the holiness of the divine worship in heaven itself.

So, we should begin to think about this change that will be coming. However, the translations now approved by all the English-speaking conferences of bishops in the world must receive a final recognition from the Holy See, and thus nothing will be happening immediately. But at the earliest moment, we will begin to have catechesis about these new translated texts, so as to maximize our people’s readiness to accept them once the Vatican approval has been received and the new English editions of the Roman Missal have been published and are available.

An abundance of outstanding seminarians and a language of worship that brings us closer to the reverence and joy of heaven — two great signs of hope indeed!

Gratitude at Thanksgiving

Lastly, Thanksgiving day has once again snuck up upon me and so many others. And among the very first goods in my own life, for which I am most grateful, are yourselves, the faithful people of our Diocese of Madison. In this Year for Priests I am especially grateful to my brother priests for their loving service to you and their own pursuit of holiness, with all of the challenges but also all of the joys which are part of the priesthood these days.

I am grateful for the solid seminarians that we have in the diocese, and for the promise of growth in numbers that can be foreseen. I am grateful for the faithful married life of so many in the diocese. I am grateful for the witness given by so many faithful followers of the consecrated life, especially for the religious Sisters who seek each day to remind us that to be Church means to be with Mary and like Mary in holiness. I am so grateful for my excellent diocesan staff, who seek to reach out to all of you in loving service each day.

I am so grateful for your ongoing prayerful support and cooperation, without which my own fulfillment of my responsibilities as bishop is simply not possible. Thanksgiving, thank God, is very alive for me every blessed year and is especially so this year.

With my earnest prayers I hope that the deepest meaning of Thanksgiving will saturate your hearts and minds and the lives of your families at this wonderful time of the year.

Thank you for reading this. God bless you. Happy Thanksgiving. Praised be Jesus Christ!